Even before the pandemic, nearly half of Americans were feeling isolated and lonely. Covid only exacerbated the problem, limiting the face-to-face interactions that help build connectivity. Casually scrolling through social media does little to abate loneliness. People need a real community now more than ever. Brands are beginning to fill that need with community building.
Community is essential to your brand’s success. Making your audience feel welcomed in and heard is more than just posting occasionally on social media. It’s important to skillfully utilize social media to create brand awareness and loyalty and make customers feel heard.
Building Community Increases Awareness and Fosters Brand Loyalty
Word of mouth, the most effective form of lead generation, relies heavily on the brand community to spread awareness. Most people are far more likely to trust a recommendation of someone they know over an advertisement. Brands need to utilize their current customers in outreach to potential new consumers.
One method that many companies use is brand ambassadors. These are current customers recruited to spread awareness to other customers. They usually get perks like discounts or merch in return for hosting events, referring friends, and sharing on social media.
Building a community also keeps current customers engaged. Repeat customers are less expensive leads and consumers are more willing to spend increasing amounts on brands they feel loyal to. The more time and effort they invest into a company, the more they value it. Harvard Business School calls this the IKEA effect. Customers spend so much time building IKEA furniture that they overvalue the final product.
Both in-person events and online forums encourage engagement, requesting customers invest time and energy into the company. This in turn creates a perception of value in the customer. It also satisfies the human need for community.
Building a Community Improves Customer Experience
Together we rise, alone we fall. Being a loner isn’t as cool as it seems. It is, believe it or not, lonely. People are far more likely to succeed when they are invested in a supportive community. Building a community impacts not only the brand but the customers as well. It adds value to the lives of its audience, providing camaraderie and connection.
A brand community provides a source of advice, and not just on the brand itself. Community members share knowledge that applies to life and a passion for learning and improvement. A properly curated brand community will continue to build up its members and help them strive to be better.
It also helps the company get to better know its customer base. Brand communities are great places to get honest feedback and reviews. Focus groups and surveys aren’t always accurate. The observer effect means that the very act of observing something changes it. When people know their answers are being recorded or observed, it changes how they act.
Organic interaction in a community allows people to share their views in an unofficial capacity. This setting helps them be more true to their thoughts. Brands can use this to improve their products and better serve their community.
How to Build a Community
It’s important to remember that building a community takes time and effort. It’s not just going to happen overnight. There are a few things you need when considering how to build a community around your brand.
Are you going to focus on your community in person, online, or a hybrid of the two? You need to know this before you can start making plans.
A successful community is an engaged one, one that invests in the lives of its members. Establish what your company’s values are- people want to interact with a brand that represents what they believe. Generate quality content that they can engage with and be there to encourage collaboration and networking. Create opportunities for user-generated content as well.
You can’t build relationships overnight, so dig in for the long haul. Nurture relationships and make an impact in what community you do have. If you can be faithful with a few customers, you can be faithful with a large number of them. Build their trust in you and the community will continue to grow.
Create a Brand Community with StayTouch
StayTouch is an app that combines modern networking and easy relationship management. Build a community with ease, instantly exchange information, and explore scheduling and time management functions. Create a growing brand community and maintain lasting relationships with your clients. Contact us to learn more.